Chemical Dependency

ExitCare ImageChemical dependency is an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is characterized by the repeated behavior of seeking out and using drugs and alcohol despite harmful consequences to the health and safety of ones self and others.


There are certain situations or behaviors that increase a person's risk for chemical dependency. These include:

  • A family history of chemical dependency.

  • A history of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

  • A home environment where drugs and alcohol are easily available to you.

  • Drug or alcohol use at a young age.


The following symptoms can indicate chemical dependency:

  • Inability to limit the use of drugs or alcohol.

  • Nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety that occurs when alcohol or drugs are not being used.

  • An increase in amount of drugs or alcohol that is necessary to get drunk or high.

People who experience these symptoms can assess their use of drugs and alcohol by asking themselves the following questions:

  • Have you been told by friends or family that they are worried about your use of alcohol or drugs?

  • Do friends and family ever tell you about things you did while drinking alcohol or using drugs that you do not remember?

  • Do you lie about using alcohol or drugs or about the amounts you use?

  • Do you have difficulty completing daily tasks unless you use alcohol or drugs?

  • Is the level of your work or school performance lower because of your drug or alcohol use?

  • Do you get sick from using drugs or alcohol but keep using anyway?

  • Do you feel uncomfortable in social situations unless you use alcohol or drugs?

  • Do you use drugs or alcohol to help forget problems? 

An answer of yes to any of these questions may indicate chemical dependency. Professional evaluation is suggested.